Here are some of my favorites:
1. Trail of Terror, Wallingford, CT—We did the trail a few years ago with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. The line was long, but there were zombies doing the “Thriller” dance to entertain us as we waited. The power went out (really—it wasn’t meant to be part of the experience) when we were about a third of the way through. We were trapped in the dark for the better part of an hour. The truly terrifying part was how badly I needed to pee. However, the best moment of the Trail of Terror was at the bathroom facilities afterwards. Jason’s sister Joy waited until her brother was in the porta-potty, then started banging on the port-a-john walls and screaming. I nearly wet my pants from laughing so hard. Maybe you had to be there. But I’d highly recommend doing this attraction with my sister-in-law.
2. Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA—This prison is absolutely worth touring during the day, and I do suggest you do the audio tour with Steve Buscemi narrating. At night in the fall, they turn it into a fabulous haunted attraction. The actors are spooky, completely into their roles, and there are seven different sections of the prison to walk through. So much fun!
3. Six Flags Fright Fest, nationwide (I went to Agawam, MA)—I won’t lie: I’ve had better. But you have to hand it to Six Flags: they try. During the day, they have “Monstertainment” in the form of performing vampires, ghouls, and mummies; at night, they open up the Wicked Woods and Zombie’s Revenge. It’s fun, though repetitive—Area 51 hasn’t changed much from year to year, and throwing some cobwebs on the Buzzsaw doesn’t really make it more terrifying. But the Demon District and Midnight Mansion are fun. As with everything at Six Flags, their main goal is to part you from your money: many attractions require an additional fee.
4. My cousin Lori’s house, Columbia, CT—Okay, so this isn’t open to the public, but she and her husband Frank delight in, and I quote, “scaring the living crap out of the neighborhood kids.” She had a ghastly pumpkin-head scarecrow on the lawn one year, and at least three kids pooped themselves when it moved. Hee hee! Too bad you can’t visit her.
5. Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando, FL—If you want to do Halloween right, you have to visit Universal during Horror Nights. They change over nine different attractions to make them haunted, and I’m not talking about some cheap nylon cobwebs. These people have the budget to change the whole freaking ride to make it so terrifying, you will be filling your shorts like the kids who live on my cousin Lori’s street. They think of everything, even shutting off the bulbs on the drive-in theater so the sign reads DIE-IN. Absolutely the pinnacle of Halloween fun.
So there you have it: my top picks in Halloween horror attractions. Apparently, for me, Halloween means soiling yourself repeatedly. If you can’t afford the trip to Orlando this October, I highly recommend trekking over to Philly. The prison’s awesome, the food is good, and they also do a haunted downtown tour of the city at night.
You do what you must to get your scare on. I’m going to Lori’s house.